Snakes can be born from either eggs or live-born. Unlike most mammals, baby snakes are usually self-sufficient from the day they are born (with a few exceptions).
However, because they’re small and vulnerable, their survival rate is not great. They are usually between 5 and 12 inches long the day they’re born. So, most baby snakes won’t make it to adulthood when they’re big enough for self-protection. They’re primarily targeted as prey by cats and birds.
Let’s take a look at some common questions our readers have about baby snakes.
What Are Baby Snakes Called?
Baby snakes are called three names. These are snakelet, hatchling, and neonate. The most common phrase is snakelet.
A neonate is a medical term for a baby that is less than four weeks old. However, this term is rarely used for snakes. Instead, some people use the word “snakelet.” Not all snakes are born from eggs. Some are born live, so ‘hatchling’ doesn’t work for every snake species.
Table: Baby Snake Facts
|Snake Name||Size at Birth (Inches)||Egg or Live Birth?||Clutch Size (Siblings Per Birth)|
|Ball Python||10 – 16 Inches||Egg||1 – 11|
|Hognose Snake||5 – 9 Inches||Egg||4 – 23|
|Corn Snake||10 – 15 Inches||Egg||10 – 30|
|Copperhead||7 – 10 Inches||Egg (Internal)||2 – 18|
|Boa Constrictor||14 – 22 Inches||Live birth||10 – 65|
|King Snake||8 – 11 Inches||Egg||3 – 24|
|Garter Snake||6 – 9 Inches||Live birth||20 – 40|
|Gopher Snake||12 – 18 Inches||Egg||2 – 8|
|Milk Snake||5 – 10 Inches||Egg||2 – 17|
|Reticulated Python||24 – 30 Inches||Egg||15 – 20|
Are Baby Snakes Born or Hatched?
There are more than 3,000 species of snakes known to humans. About 70% of these lay eggs. The snakelets come out of the egg, like crocodiles and chicks. The remaining 30% are born as live snakes, like mammals.
Snakes that lay eggs are called oviparous snakes. The snakes that do not lay eggs are called viviparous. The snakes that don’t lay eggs have to do this because they belong to colder regions where eggs cannot survive.
Here are some examples of snakes that do NOT lay eggs:
- Water Snakes
- Garter Snakes
- Amazon Tree Boa
- Sea Snakes
- White-lipped Snakes
- Boa Constrictors
How Big are Baby Snakes?
Baby snakes are small, and they look like worms. They are so small that in the wild, they are vulnerable to attacks and predators like rats and birds.
In human territories, it is not unusual for cats to bring baby snakes into their owners’ homes.
Different baby snakes have different sizes, and the size depends on the species. For example, it is not unusual that an anaconda baby snake is bigger than a garter snake.
A baby garter snake is between six and nine inches long. A baby reticulated python, however, can be 24 to 30 inches long.
Viviparous snakes also have a placenta. However, humans and other mammals have better-developed placenta than snakes. Snakes that form an embryo inside them still have a remnant of an egg, and the embryo feeds through a yolk.
How to Identify a Baby Snake
Baby snakes are difficult to identify because at first they look like worms. The good news is that baby snakes look like adults, only much smaller.
To identify a baby snake, look for scales. Snakes have scales whike worms don’t. You can also see that snakes have heads, even if they are babies. Worms do not have a pronounced head like snakes.
Are Baby Snakes Venomous?
Yes, they can be venomous. A common myth about baby snakes is that they do not have venom. However, baby snakes from venomous species have venom sacs the day they hatch.
Baby snakes do not have the same amount of venom in their sacs as their parents. This is simply because they are smaller and have smaller sacs. However, this little venom sac does not make them less dangerous. Some snakes only need a drop of venom to kill an adult human.
If the baby snake belongs to a non-venomous species, then of course it has no venom.
Can Baby Snakes Survive Without their Mother?
Yes, they can. Baby snakes take care of themselves from the day they are born. Unlike mammals and birds, most snake parents do not feed their young.
The survival rate of baby snakes in the wild is low. For example, for the green snake (Opheodrys Aestivus), the survival rate is 21%. According to this study, this survival rate is so low in this species that it is insufficient to sustain its population. It is therefore considered a species that may become extinct over time.
Baby snakes die in the wild because of predation. Birds, alligators, rats, and other snakes eat baby snakes. As such, a baby snake that grows to adulthood is lucky.
Venomous snakes are lucky because they have a weapon. They can bite small animals in self-defense, potentially killing their predators. Pythons, on the other hand, are at a disadvantage. Even if they are 24 inches long, they are not big enough to swallow a rat or constrict it sufficiently.
What this means is that the baby snakes must hunt for specific types of food—those that will fit in their mouths.
One exception to this rule is some species of vipers and pythons. The mother snakes would take care of their baby snakes for about two weeks. By that time, the mother leaves, and they are on their own.
Baby snakes go by different names, but the most popular term is snakelet. Not all snakes hatch from an egg, so hatchling is not an ideal word. Snakes do not care for their young. They leave them behind, and the baby snakes have to take care of themselves.
Different snakes are born in various sizes. One of the biggest is the reticulated python, where a baby can be between 24 and 30 inches long. Some snakes will feed right after birth or hatching, and some can take two weeks to a month before eating.